Yarlett takes poor advantage of the format, as readers see only half of the correspondence, but the premise and punny names...

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DRAGON POST

A lad finds a big red dragon in his basement and wisely seeks expert advice about its care and feeding in this epistolary episode.

Young Alexander’s missives (there are no cellphones, nor parents, in sight) are mostly paraphrased rather than shown, but each response comes as a small note folded into a pocket that’s been printed and shaped like an envelope: “Douse it in water right away!” writes panic-stricken fire chief H.Y. Drant; find it a large house or castle, advises B. East of World Animal Welfare; “fatten it up,” suggests Angus Teak the butcher (“Look forward to [eating, scratched out] meeting your dragon”) with sinister relish. Boy and dragon have wonderful times together, but the ultimate realization that dragons really don’t make good pets leads the narrator to follow the written advice of best friend Hillary (“the wisest person I knew”) and set it free. The later arrival of a slightly burned picture postcard in the “post” reassures him that the dragon won’t be forgetting to keep in touch. The human figures in Yarlett’s cartoon illustrations are either white or have their heads cut off at the page top. With the exception of the pasted-on postcard from the dragon at the end, all of the correspondence is removable and thereby losable.

Yarlett takes poor advantage of the format, as readers see only half of the correspondence, but the premise and punny names add some appeal. (Novelty. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-818-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.

MARY POPPINS UP, UP AND AWAY

From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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